Tis the Season. 12/22/14
-Planning properly produces proper possibilities.
-Christ is Christmas.
Christmas is coming! Surprisingly, loads of people we talk to on the street are not excited. Not surprisingly, they don't understand the significance of Christ's birth. It's all about the shopping in
This week we did a lot of planning and went to work. We went through all of the less actives of the ward list, organized them into areas, and then made plans to share the He is the Gift video with as many of them as possible. We wanted to reach the standard of excellence for the mission of 20 lessons each week, and it has seemed impossible so far. Our record was 14 before this week. The video and less active grouping seemed like the best way to do this. Each night for planning I took the time to see what street each person was on and map out a route to stop by each of them in the area in a loop so we don't have to run around. Saturday we had a list of four different areas with around 5 names in each area. It was exhausting but it felt so good when we got back to the flat, counted it up and we had 7 lessons in one day. Sunday we went up to one area with a list of more than a dozen people to stop by. We were hoping for big things but we realised on the bus ride back we were one short of 20. So we stopped by “C’s” and read 2 Nephi 32. It's a solid chapter with only 9 verses. When we got home we were shattered. Planning p-day we were thinking we'd just stay home and lounge around. Then the other Elders called and we decided the usual football sounds like more fun so we'll head up there soon.
I hope that these lessons did as much for the people as it did for our accounting, but either way it gave us so much determination to go see loads of people and share something every chance we had.
I am grateful for the opportunity to experience Christmas as a missionary. My eyes are opened more and more as I learn about it. I spoke in church Sunday about Christmas' meaning to me. Although I had a week to prepare, the only thing I thought of before Sunday was about humility. I knew I wanted to share something about how humble His birth was but I couldn't decide. I continued to think about it all week but then even Sunday morning I only had fragments of ideas (D&C 84:85). By sacrament meeting, the third hour, I had a plan. I scribbled it out while we sat on the bench to pass the sacrament and then slipped it into my classy English slim suit.
I briefly explained that when I was a child Christmas meant the same thing for me as it did for most kids. It's all about the presents! Then I illustrated how I slowly learnt the joy of making others happy by giving meaningful gifts, gifts of love. I proceeded to explain how the experience of Christmas as a missionary has changed it for me. Hopefully my writing can help you relate to my two main points.
Christ's birth is the epitome of humility.
His mother and His mother's husband were each descendants of King David. He was fit to be a king. The Jewish people anxiously awaited their Messiah to come in glory to establish the kingdom. He would establish peace (Isaiah 9:6). But who would the King of Heaven and Earth first be manifested to? People in authority of the church or kings? Neither, the first to know were shepherds watching over their flocks by night.
There was a massive influx in population due to the laws of the census being taken, so all of the inns were full. He was born in a manger for animals, but it's likely not even a wooden structure but a limestone cave commonly used in the area (Jesus the Christ, James E. Talmage, p.69). He was wrapped in rough, cheap, swaddling clothes. The contrast between His birth and how it would have happened to a newborn prince at the time is dramatic.
He continued to live his life in perfect humility. Although He would perform the most important event for all of mankind, his life was never one of glory. He walked with the poor, the sick, and the afflicted. Gaining an understanding for His humility has helped me understand how I should treat my calling as a representative of Him. I wear His name but that should make me even more humble if anything.
Another main connection I made was how true the Book of Mormon is (#mormonmissionary). The law of witnesses states, "In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established" (2 Corinthians 13:1). There are TWO books that prophesied of Christ's coming. Isaiah prophesies in the Old Testament. Nephi, King Benjamin, Alma, and Samuel prophesy of His coming in the Book of Mormon.
In the birth story, the shepherds are the Old Testament. They were sent to tell all the people but without a second witness, some people might not believe their tale. The wise men, or kings from another land, are the Book of Mormon. It clarifies and testifies of truth. I'm not sure if that made sense but it was like a light bulb went on for me. I was really excited! haha
I will miss you all this week but I am grateful for your support. I know you love me. I appreciate the cards, mail, and Christmas ornaments. If the parcel with the tree in it would arrive I might hang them up... haha! I also want to thank Heather and the Mattingleys for each sending me FHE ideas about how modern Christmas items remind us of Christ. I was sceptical when the first one came but the second witness testified of truth. ;) Dang missionary jokes are dry...
Anyway, I am blessed to be away from home for Christmas to learn more of it's meaning, and appreciate Christmas more in the future. That'll be here in the blink of an eye though because it feels like I just flew out last week. Skype ya later!